LeMusée du Louvre in French, the Louvre is the largest museum in the world and contains some of history’s most extraordinary masterpieces. Standing along the banks of the Seine River, the stunning, baroque-style museum and palace is one of Paris city’s biggest tourist attractions.
Brief History of the Louvre
Initially intended to be constructed as a fortress in 1190, the Louvre was rebuilt in the 16th century to function as a royal palace. “Similar to other structures, it was build up and reconstructed throughout the years.
The Louvre saw a remarkable progress in its period as a royal residence. Almost all ruler developed it that it now spans a combined space of 60,600 sq. meter. It was in 1682, when Louis XIV transferred the royal residence to Versailles. In August 1793, the National Assembly launched the Louvre as a museum with 537 art collection and houses several art academies, and offers regular exhibitions of its members’ works.
Due to problems in its build structure, the museum closed in 1796. Napoleon opened gain the museum in 1801, expanded its collection, renaming it Musée Napoléon. It was Napoleon Bonaparte who established the foundation of the globally celebrated museum as he oversees the creation of art collections. In 1802, he renamed it to the ‘Napoleon Museum,’ stating he wanted to build a museum of France that also covers significant masterpieces from across the globe. The collection increases as he brought artworks coming from private donations, military campaigns, and from his commissions. When Napoleon renounced the Treaty of Fontainebleau in 1815, thousands of art pieces were sent back to their countries of origin. France was able to keep some paintings, and the Louvre reverted to its original name.
Louvre’s Art Collection
Amongst the thousands of art collection in the Louvre’s are prehistoric Roman and Greek sculptures, works of Islamic art, Egyptian antiques, paintings from before 1800 made by renowned European painters, Western art from the medieval period as well as crown jewels and other artifacts. Over 35,000 artworks are being displayed at any given time.
The collection is classified into 8 Departments, defined by the activities of its curators, collectors, and donors. Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Decorative Arts; Islamic Art; Sculptures; Paintings; and Prints and Drawings.
Evidently, the most popular artwork is the “Mona Lisa” painted by Leonardo da Vinci who attracts thousands of visitors. The legendary painting, though small with just 21×30 inches in measurement is protected by a bullet proof glass and heavily secured by guards.
Louvre’s Unique Pyramid Architecture
Even though the art collection is the museum’s highly important element, the building itself is equally an interesting art structure. The building is mainly of French Classic and Renaissance. Its medieval features coming from the old fortress may still be observed underground, around the lobby area that is beneath the pyramid.
When the Louvre was renovated in 1983, one of the plans needs a new design for the main entrance. The project was awarded to Architect I.M. Pei so he designed an underground lobby and contemporary glass pyramid structure in the courtyard to combine the traditional with modern architecture.
Need to Know before visiting
It is plain impossible to see the whole of Louvre in just one visit due to its expansive area and collection scale, not to mention the sheer size of crowds. But they have several tools to assist visitors to navigate and plan their trip such as “Masterpieces Visitor Trail that covers the top 10 most popular artworks, museum map and advance ticket options.
The Louvre is open everyday except Tuesday and other holidays. Opening hours are Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.
Admission costs to visit the whole museum is 15 euros and 17 euros if ordered online. Kids and under 18 can enter for free as well art teachers, pass holders and people with disabilities.
Interested in art and inspired by French artists, the Chairman and Founder of Adgeco Group, Mohamed Dekkak, included a tour to the Louvre museum during his recent visit to Paris, France. An avid art collector, Mohamed has also several collections of artworks displayed in the U.A.E.